Palan exhaled, and the blue wings on his back disappeared. The room was lit up in a red hue as the first rays of sunlight began to pour in from the window. Raea’s eyes opened, and saw Cleo sprawled out on top of her, using the angel’s discarded cocoon as a blanket. “Is it tomorrow?” Raea asked Palan who was sitting on the foot of her bed. She had woken up multiple times throughout the night and asked him every time.
“Yes,” Palan said as he cracked his neck and rolled his shoulders. After he evolved, he found that meditation began to work for him again and his mana was increasing steadily.
Raea let out a sigh and lowered her head back onto the pillow. She stared up at the ceiling and stretched her arms out in front of her. The black scales along her arms glinted in the sunlight. She ran her fingers over them, causing a shiver to run down her spine. “Why is there war?” she asked as her arms lowered. Cleo let out a groan and rolled over.
“Because angels are weird,” Palan said. “Wars never happen in Eljiam probably because if you tried to create an army, they’d kill each other first.”
“I’m not sure that’s any better,” Raea said and made a face. She sat up in bed, knocking Cleo off of her stomach. “Why can’t everyone just be friends?” She ruffled her hair and got out of bed, walking over to the closet. Her robe fell to the floor as she began to get dressed in her armor. Palan had worn his throughout the night.
“It’s the angels who’re the warmongers,” Cleo said and yawned. She rubbed her eyes, and checked her waist, making sure her bag was still there. It was. She reached inside her belt and pulled out a gigantic drumstick that was the size of her body. Palan’s mind almost broke.
Raea turned around and raised an eyebrow. “Where’d you get that?” she asked.
“My bagh, umf,” Cleo said while chewing and swallowing.
“I don’t understand,” Raea said and looked at Palan. She had never seen him so baffled before. His brow was furrowed and his mouth was slightly parted. If he had been holding something, he would’ve dropped it.
Cleo finished swallowing and lowered the half-eaten drumstick. “Like this,” she said and yawned again. She pulled on her belt and dropped the drumstick into the tiny space—no longer than a finger—between the leather strip and her stomach. The drumstick vanished. Raea blinked and rubbed her eyes.
“I think I need more sleep,” she said. Cleo shrugged and grasped at the air she dropped the drumstick in, causing it to reappear in her hand. She began to munch on it with her eyes half-closed. Her eyes widened, and she stiffened.
Her hand slowly moved down and stored the drumstick away. She glanced at Palan and Raea and smiled. “That didn’t happen,” she said, enunciating each word as if she was afraid of startling the two. “You are dreaming. Dreaminginging.” She grabbed the cocoon and covered her body before shuffling to a corner of the bed. Her tail stuck out like a sore thumb.
Palan grabbed Cleo’s tail, causing her to let out a yelp. He pulled her out from beneath the cocoon and held her upside-down. “Explain.”
“Well,” Cleo said and nodded. “When people go to sleep, sometimes they see things that don’t actually hap—pen!?“ Palan tickled the bottom of her foot, causing her body to spasm. “Okay! Okay! I’ll expl—ain! Stop it!”
Palan dropped her onto the bed, and she glared at him while wrinkling her nose. “You can’t tell anyone, okay?” she asked in a whisper. “After I laid that egg, I discovered this ability later that day. I was steal—, err”—she glanced at Raea—“borrowing some stuff from the soldiers and I really wanted more space. Then I found out that the items in my bag disappeared. At first, I thought Danger Noodle stole it from me, but that wasn’t the case.” She pulled at her belt, revealing that space between the leather and her belly. “There’s like a really big space here that I can put stuff in.”
Palan raised an eyebrow. “How big?” he asked. Cleo looked at Raea and pursed her lips. She crawled onto Palan’s lap and whispered in his ear. His eyes widened. “Really?” Cleo nodded and placed a finger on her lips, shooting a glance at Raea.
“That’s just mean,” Raea said and frowned. “I want to know too.”
“Larger than an elephant,” Palan said. Cleo smiled and nodded at his answer before sitting on top of Danger Noodle.
Raea furrowed her brow. “Did she … store an elephant in there?” she asked. “Please tell me you didn’t.”
“I didn’t,” Cleo said, facing her back towards Raea.
“Is she lying to me?” Raea asked Palan.
Raea bit her lower lip. “I don’t know what to believe anymore,” she said. She exhaled and shook her head. “It doesn’t matter … too much. Let’s go. We don’t want to be late.”
“Does it matter?” Palan asked. “You’re not going to be fighting.”
“People will get injured,” she said, “and I can help heal them. Besides, it wouldn’t be respectful of me to Elrith if I showed up late.” The door opened and Raea walked outside.
Palan followed after her and brought Danger Noodle, with Cleo, in front of his body. “Did you store an elephant?” he asked.
“No,” Cleo said and frowned. “I tried, but it didn’t work. I can’t store live things.” She tilted her head. “I did steal a storage chest though.”
“Your usefulness just went up by over a thousand times,” Palan said. “I guess you’re not just a scapegoat anymore.”
“Huh?” Cleo asked. “Is that what you thought of me?”
“Of course not,” Palan said and petted her head. “I’d never consider abandoning you.”
Cleo puffed her cheeks out and tried to bite his hand.